A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss

Appetite. 2008 Nov;51(3):676-80. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.06.003. Epub 2008 Jun 14.


Long chain omega-3 fatty acids (LC n-3 FA) are considered nutritional factors with a potential to modulate food intake. Thus, the aim of the current study was to determine whether appetite could be affected by LC n-3 FA when included in a calorie-restricted diet to treat overweight or obesity. Appetite was explored in volunteers (31+/-5 years; BMI: 28.3+/-1.5 kg/m(2)) during the last 2 weeks of an 8-week energy-restricted balanced diet (weight loss=-5.9+/-3.1%) providing either a low (<260 mg/day; n=112) or a high amount (>1300 mg/day; n=121) of LC n-3 FA. Erythrocyte membrane fatty acids were measured to detect diet-related changes in fatty acids and a validated visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to measure hunger sensations directly after and 2h after a test dinner. The LC n-3 FA content in erythrocyte membrane was lower in the low LC n-3 FA group (10.5+/-2.5% vs. 12.5+/-2.6%; p<0.001) after the intervention. The VAS assessment revealed lower hunger sensations in the high LC n-3 FA group immediately after the test dinner (fullness: p=0.045) and after 120 min (fullness: p=0.008; hunger: p=0.039). Correlation analysis showed a positive relation between n-3 FA/n-6 FA ratio in erythrocyte membrane and fullness 2h postprandial (r=0.139; p=0.032). In conclusion, LC n-3 FA intake modulates postprandial satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss. Further research is needed to investigate whether LC n-3 FA improve compliance to the nutritional treatment of overweight and obesity as well as weight loss maintenance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hunger / drug effects*
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Male
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Patient Compliance
  • Postprandial Period
  • Satiation / drug effects*
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Weight Loss / drug effects
  • Weight Loss / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3